Last Friday night we went to the closest Mothers of Twins club sales. If you have or expect to have babies, live near a good-sized city, and have never checked these out--do. (Search for "mothers of multiples" as well.) There are about a dozen in different regions of our city, and most of them hold two sales a year, a portion of which is open to the public.
I've been going to these sales since before D1 was born, but this was the first year I qualified to go as a member (or pre-member--they didn't want to charge until the babies had arrived safely), so we went the night before and picked up a twin jogging stroller for about a third of the retail price. We also got a beautiful child's wooden rocking chair for $5, a few small toy items, and much of what I needed to round out the duckling's summer wardrobes.
I find the prices are usually comparable to yard sales, with the one downside being that it's hard to dicker when there are thirty sellers to track down across a junior high cafeteria. (I wouldn't bother, unless it was a large item I felt was really overpriced.) The big advantage is the selection, which is about as big as a large children's resale shop. I can rely on these sales to get everything I'm going to need for the new season at one stop, which saves me a huge amount of time and energy. (Like everywhere else, though, second-hand pickings get slimmer as the kids get older.)
Before I go, I look through the hand-me-downs and any old clothes I think will fit (when do kids stop growing into a new size every season?) and write out exactly what I think I still need in colors and sizes. This year I got even smarter and wrote down the duckling's actual measurements before I went, so I could measure the t-shirts and dresses and be sure they were long enough. I also traced their feet, so I could compare the cutouts to shoe soles and be sure they could accommodate D2's wide feet and leave enough room to grow. Much less stressful and I didn't bring home any mistakes.
More Frugal Friday here.